SOFIA Begins Its Fourth Annual Cycle of Science FlightsThe Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, began its fourth annual cycle of science flights on February 3, 2016. (click image for more information)
Novae create and scatter elements for new Earth-like planets"SOFIA/FORCAST Grism Spectra of Classical Novae,” talk by Bob Gehrz (U. Minnesota) during the SOFIA special session at the Jan. 2016 AAS meeting. (click image for more information)
Rapid mass loss from Betelgeuse poses a puzzle“Probing the Extended Atmosphere and Wind of Betelgeuse with SOFIA/EXES,” talk by Graham Harper (U. Colorado) during the SOFIA special session at the Jan. 2016 AAS meeting. (click image for more information)
Epsilon Eridani debris disk shows signs of sculpting by planets“Nature of the Warm Excess in Epsilon Eridani: Asteroid belt or Dragged-in Grains?” talk by Kate Su (U. Arizona) during the SOFIA special session at the Jan. 2016 AAS meeting. (click image for more information)
SOFIA observations of Pluto occultation complement New Horizons data“Pluto's Atmosphere from the 29 June 2015 Occultation: SOFIA Airborne Results,” talk by Michael Person (MIT) during the SOFIA special session at the Jan. 2016 AAS meeting. (click image for more information)
NASA SOFIA Third Generation Science Instrument Selection Enters Final PhaseThe competition to develop a third generation instrument for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has been narrowed to two proposed instruments. Over the course of the next few months, the two proposal teams will work to produce detailed concept studies. (click image for more information)
Ionized H2D observations give an age of one million years for a cloud core forming Sun-like starsObserved and modeled H2D+ spectra using APEX/FLASH and SOFIA/GREAT towards a protostar core IRAS 16293-2422. The observed ortho/para H2D+ ratio sets a limit on the age of the cloud core of less than one million years (Brünken et al. 2014, Nature, 13924) (click image for more information)
Prof. Wolfram Ressel, Rector of the University of Stuttgart, participates in SOFIA science flightRector of the University of Stuttgart Prof. Wolfram Ressel plus other German VIPs were official guests on the Oct. 27 SOFIA science flight. (click image for more information)
Using SOFIA and the FORCAST camera, an international scientific team discovered that supernovae are capable of producing a substantial amount of the material from which planets like Earth can form. More information.
GREAT spectral map of planetary nebula NGC 7027 in [O I] emission at 63.2 microns (4.74 THz)
Map of planetary nebula NGC 7027 in the neutral oxygen emission line at 63 microns constructed from spatial scans made by the GREAT spectrometer’s H-channel receiver. The effective angular resolution is indicated by the gray circle at lower left. More information.
FIFI-LS detection of [O III] emission from the planetary nebula NGC 6543
(Left) First FIFI-LS spectral map of planetary nebula NGC 6543 at 51.815 microns, Each of the 25 pixels is 6 x 6 arc seconds in size, corresponding to about 1/10 of a light year at NGC 6543’s distance of 3000 light years. (Copyright: The FIFI-LS Team) (Right) The FIFI-LS field of view is shown superimposed on a image of NGC 6543 taken by the Nordic Optical Telescope (La Palma, Spain) in filters [N II] λ6584 (= red) and [O III] λ5007 Å (= blue and green). (Copyright: R.L.M. Corradi, Isaac Newton Group, and D. Goncalves, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias.) More information.
EXES spectral maps of H2 emission on Jupiter at 17.0 and 28.3 microns
On its first commissioning flight, EXES observed emissions from Jupiter's atmosphere in two molecular hydrogen lines. These observations will be used in a research project led by Dr. Thomas Greathouse of the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas, to understand how gas rises from deep in Jupiter's interior and mixes into the planet's upper atmosphere. More information.
SOFIA near-IR image of Supernova 2014J
Two images of the central portions of galaxy M82 that include the position of Supernova 2014J (north is at the top, east is to the left in these images). (left) Near-infrared image from the 2-Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS), before the supernova explosion. (right) Image of M82 including the supernova at near-infrared wavelengths J, H, and K (1.2, 1.65, and 2.2 microns), made Feb. 20 by the FLITECAM instrument on SOFIA. More information.
Several times per year, NASA Astrophysics Division Director Paul Hertz issues a message summarizing the status of NASA's astrophysics missions and programs. Read the latest update here. [Updated January 2016]